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What is Intelligent Verbatim?

A question that I am often asked when putting together a quote for our transcription service is, what is intelligent verbatim? So in this post, I’m going to explain what intelligent verbatim is and how it differs from verbatim. I will also explain the pros and cons of using intelligent verbatim and – if I have time, show you a couple of quick examples. So, here goes!

Transcription City Verbatim Transcription Services
Verbatim or intelligent verbatim – That is the question.

Intelligent verbatim transcription differs from verbatim transcription because it doesn’t include any speech that may be considered irrelevant to the reader. For example discussions or dictations that contain errors in speech such as false starts, repetitions and excessive amounts of fillers are omitted from the transcript. To clarify here is some examples of speech that would not be included in an intelligent verbatim transcript.

  • “Um’s” and “er’s”.
  • Excessive use of fillers such as “You know”, “like” and in some instances, “okay” and “yeah”.
  • Repetitions for example if someone replies, “no, no, no, no”. In this case the transcript will either be transcribed as “No” or “No (x4)”.
  • False starts can also be excluded. For example, “So I wanted… well… is that…? …anyway what was I saying…? I wanted a sandwich.” This would be written as “So I wanted a sandwich”

Depending on the clients’ needs a transcript can be tailored to include or exclude whatever is preferable to them. This can range from highly edited (Edited transcription) slightly edited (Intelligent verbatim transcription), word for word (Verbatim) or even include every nuance of and tone of speech ( discourse analysis) and everything in between.

Here are some of the advantages of intelligent verbatim transcription.


  • The transcript is easier to read, as it does not include a lot of the fillers, false start etc. that can be confusing to read without the accompanying sound file to go with it.
  • The transcript is less expensive than verbatim transcription.

Here are some of the disadvantages of intelligent verbatim transcription.


  • Not generally suitable if being used as evidence in court.
  • Can occasionally lack tone when compared to a verbatim transcript.

There are other advantages and disadvantages to intelligent verbatim transcription, so please feel free to post your comments below if you have any ideas on what is good or bad about intelligent verbatim transcription.
If you have any further questions about the different styles of transcription we offer, or would like to ask us some questions about any other services that we provide, please let us know via email or telephone at any time. We are always happy to help.


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Transcriptionist and Virtual Assistant. View all posts by Samantha